Christ Our Advocate

    My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

    Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

    I am writing to you, little children,

        because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.

    I am writing to you, fathers,

        because you know him who is from the beginning.

    I am writing to you, young men,

        because you have overcome the evil one.

    I write to you, children,

        because you know the Father.

    I write to you, fathers,

        because you know him who is from the beginning.

    I write to you, young men,

        because you are strong,

        and the word of God abides in you,

        and you have overcome the evil one.

    Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

    Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

    I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

    And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

    

(1 John 2 ESV)

The Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.  This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  (1 John 1)

Beware of Nigerian Religious Junk! Conrad Mbewe

In this video below, Conrand Mbewe talks with D. A. Carson about the spiritual junk food in Africa that passes as born-again Christianity.  Watch!

Lord willing, Conrad Mbewe will be speaking at the 2013 Chosen Generation Missions Conference.  I can’t wat to hear God’s Word faithfully proclaimed by this brother whom many refer to as the “Spurgeon of Africa.”

You can read his personal blog here, and read about his church in Lusaka, Zambia, here. Below is a taste of his preaching:

Rejecting the Prosperity Gospel: Book Review

The explosive growth of Christianity in Africa and South America has led many observers to speak of this demographic shift as creating a new Christendom. Unfortunately, the teaching that has fueled growth in these areas has been tainted by an American-style prosperity emphasis that focuses on health and wealth at the expense of sin, redemption, and repentance.

A PLEA TO REJECT THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL

Femi Adeleye is the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students Associate General Secretary for Partnership and Collaboration. A Nigerian based in Ghana, Adeleye argues against the prosperity gospel from a place of personal experience and from an up-close view of how his country (and continent) is developing theologically. His book Preachers of a Different Gospel: A Pilgrim’s Reflections on Contemporary Trends in Christianity is a heartfelt plea to reject the prosperity gospel and embrace the biblical message that saves.

Adeleye begins his book by describing a “strange gospel” that has created “strange Christians.” He laments the fact that many no longer adhere to the gospel as it was first presented in Africa. “The gospel that downplays human sinfulness and the eternal benefits of the gospel is not a gospel of Christ” (134).

Throughout the book, Adeleye contrasts the revivals of the 1970′s with contemporary gospel presentations in an effort to show how quickly the degeneration has taken place. Quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer, A.W. Tozer and others, Adeleye seeks to show the disparity between the prosperity teaching in Africa today and historic Christian witness. He writes: “Whereas the gospel of the cross calls for repentance and denial of self and other things, the gospel of champagne calls for self-satisfaction in response to stimuli from diverse entertaining attractions” (19).

 Adeleye sympathizes with the early aspects of the charismatic movement. He traces the history of recent African renewal movements and recounts his personal experiences during this time. At the same time, he laments the tendency of Africans to focus on the gifts of the Spirit more than the fruit.

A PROPHETIC SERMON AGAINST THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL

Preachers of a Different Gospel reads like an extended sermon in which Adeleye, like an African prophet, seeks to correct his brothers and sisters and bring them in line with the gospel that was once for all delivered to the saints. And, like a good preacher, Adeyele turns some striking phrases, such as the polarity between “the God man uses” rather than “the man God uses.”

But Adeleye is careful to not critique in such a way as to create a different sort of distortion. When speaking of God’s immanence, for example, Adeleye seeks balance and makes sure to not rule out a believer’s experiential piety and relationship with God.

Toward the end of the book, Adeleye points out ways that the prosperity gospel is responsible for some of Africa’s ongoing cultural problems. He sees the witness of the church as tightly tied to the content of the gospel it preaches. “The primary purpose of the gospel is to save us and bring us into a living relationship with God and with one another. The goal is to produce transformed people who bear witness to the righteousness of God” (134).

It quickly becomes clear that Adeleye believes that the prosperity gospel has left the church in a state of impotence, totally unable to address many of the societal and structural issues in Africa today. He writes: “When there is a fire in the church, society should feel the heat” (121). And again: “True renewal is not just personal; it must also have an impact on society.”

Some may not agree with Adeleye’s description of Christians as “transforming agents” in society, but it is clear that Adeleye views societal transformation as intricately connected to personal evangelism and the church being the people of God. Preachers of a Different Gospel is a clarion call to the contemporary church to return to authentic Christianity, not only for the sake of the church, but also for the good of the world.

– first published in the 9Marks eJournal, Jan-Feb 2012

Announcing the 2012 Malawi Missions Conference

On behalf of Joy to the World Ministries, I am pleased to announce that plans for the Fifth Annual “Chosen Generation” Missions Conference are under way.  Here is more information about the conference:

Theme: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” taken from the Fourth petition in the Lord’s Prayer.  Since 2009, we have been studying the Lord’s Prayer at these conferences (one petition at a time).  This year, we have built the conference around this theme.  I am very much looking forward to this conference.  I trust that the Lord will do some wonderful things in our midst.  I encourage you to come to this conference.  Pray and plan to be there.  Bring your family and friends.  We are going to have a wonderful time together in fellowship with one another as we feast on the Word of LORD and worship the LORD of the Word!

Venue:  The Namoni Katengeza Church Lay Training Center (Chongoni) in Dedza District – Malawi

Dates:  July 4-8, 2011 – I hope this will suit many of you who are students.  If you are working, I hope you can plan ahead so that you can have some time off work to bring your family and friends to this conference.

Click on the image below to view the conference programme.

Speakers include:

  • Mr. Elliot Khembo – National Director, Joy to the World Ministries, Malawi
  • Mr. Hussein Latif – Missionary among Muslims in Malawi
  • Mr. Confex Makhalira – Board Secretary, Joy to the World Ministries, Malawi
  • Mr. John Joseph Matandika – Missionary with Joy to the World Ministries, Uganda
  • Rev. Stephen Roberts, Missions Director, Joy to the World Ministries, USA
  • Rev. Charles Morris – President, Haven Ministries, USA
  • Dr. David Reimer – Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh’s School of Divinity, Scotland
  • Rev. Fletcher Matandika – Founder & President, Joy to the World Ministries

Useful links:

Visit Main Conference Page

Big Changes at Desiring God

The Lord continues to use and bless John Piper and his Desiring God (DG) Ministries.  DG is really on the move and continually expanding its reach globally which is quite exciting and inspiring.  Piper recently posted a DG Ministry Update on the DG website where he outlines some of the BIG changes that will be taking place at DG.  One of those BIG changes is that DG will be closing their online bookstore in the near future.  As a result of this change, DG is running a $5 CLEARANCE SALE on all of their books (read to the end of the post for more information).  Here is an excerpt from the post.  Enjoy – and don’t miss out on the $5 BOOK SALE being offered by DG:

Transition from Selling

We’ll tell you more in the months to come. But here’s one implication of this clarified focus on the Web. We’ve decided that this ship could sail faster and farther if we stopped carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of book inventory. For years, we have had a store as part of our Website. I have always said to our guys: Let’s have the lowest prices on the Web. Beat Amazon’s prices. And we have—but only by pennies. But we can’t beat Amazon’s service. And we’ve simply decided that there’s no need to. Let’s not compete; let’s partner.

So the “store,” as such, is going away. Instead, we will have improved “product pages”—an online catalog of sorts—on each book and other products where you will have several of options: read descriptions, watch video introductions, download free PDFs, and click to order the product from Amazon, or other partnering retailers. In other words, you lose no accessibility, you gain information and possibilities, and we off-load the inventory, so to speak, so the ship sails faster and farther. We’ll keep on doing the amazing bulk offers from time to time, but even those will be for suggested donations. We are leaving the selling business.

Speaking of dumping the inventory, we are putting all of our books and resources on sale for $5 or less. Think of this as a transition sale. We’d be thrilled if you would take advantage of this and help us lighten the ship.

You can read the whole thing here.